Looking back on the events of 2014: Part four

22 Sept 2014....Kit Sollit one of the last surviving members of Sheffield's ' Women of Steel' campaign with a maquette of the statue. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1005/14c
22 Sept 2014....Kit Sollit one of the last surviving members of Sheffield's ' Women of Steel' campaign with a maquette of the statue. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1005/14c
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Lung cancer claims life of rock legend Cocker while five teenagers killed in same crash

OCTOBER

File picture shows Joyce Thacker Rotherham Director of children & young peoples services. See Ross Parry copy RPYROTERHAM : Scandal-hit Rotherham childcare chief Joyce Thacker has stood down from the council, it was announced this evening (FRI). The head of children's services at Rotherham Borough Council was criticised this week after it was revealed she had taken sick leave in the wake of South Yorkshire Police's IPCC Shaun Wright's resignation on Wednesday - three weeks after a damning report into child sexual exploitation in the town was published. In a statement released by the council, a spokesman said: "Joyce Thacker, Strategic Director for Children and Young People's Services, is to leave Rotherham Borough Council by mutual agreement, with immediate effect (Friday, September 19).

File picture shows Joyce Thacker Rotherham Director of children & young peoples services. See Ross Parry copy RPYROTERHAM : Scandal-hit Rotherham childcare chief Joyce Thacker has stood down from the council, it was announced this evening (FRI). The head of children's services at Rotherham Borough Council was criticised this week after it was revealed she had taken sick leave in the wake of South Yorkshire Police's IPCC Shaun Wright's resignation on Wednesday - three weeks after a damning report into child sexual exploitation in the town was published. In a statement released by the council, a spokesman said: "Joyce Thacker, Strategic Director for Children and Young People's Services, is to leave Rotherham Borough Council by mutual agreement, with immediate effect (Friday, September 19).

A £55million Olympic Legacy Park scheme was revealed which is set to cement Sheffield’s reputation as a city of sport.

The park, on the Don Valley Stadium site, will become home to rugby league side Sheffield Eagles and basketball team Sheffield Shark, as well as hosting a sports research centre, 1,200 place school and a university technical college.

Former sports minister and Sheffield MP Richard Caborn, the driving force behind the scheme, said: “We are rewriting the next chapter in the book of sport for Sheffield.

“We think this can be the Silicon Valley of sport. This is Sheffield at its best.”

The funeral of tragic brothers Paul (9) and Jack (12) Sykes of Penistone, South Yorkshire, has taken place at St John the Baptist Church in Penistone. The brothers died in a house fire apparentley deliberately started by their father when he took them upstairs to "look" at a new train set.'' Collect picture of Jack (R) mum Claire and Paul (L)''rossparry syndication

The funeral of tragic brothers Paul (9) and Jack (12) Sykes of Penistone, South Yorkshire, has taken place at St John the Baptist Church in Penistone. The brothers died in a house fire apparentley deliberately started by their father when he took them upstairs to "look" at a new train set.'' Collect picture of Jack (R) mum Claire and Paul (L)''rossparry syndication

Don Valley Stadium, a 25,000-seater athletics stadium, was closed in 2013 and demolished early this year after Sheffield Council said it was too expensive to run.

The Royal Hallamshire Hospital was designated as one of four hospitals nationwide where patients would be treated if a UK ebola outbreak happens.

The epidemic Africa has already killed more than 3,500 people and the World Health Organisation warned sporadic cases in Europe would be ‘unavoidable’.

The Hallamshire was selected as it has an infectious diseases unit with 33 dedicated beds – more than half of which are in isolation rooms.

Robert Fitzharris writes in the book of condolence at the Minster for the five teenagers who died in a car crash at Conisbrough. Picture: Andrew Roe

Robert Fitzharris writes in the book of condolence at the Minster for the five teenagers who died in a car crash at Conisbrough. Picture: Andrew Roe

Shamed former Rotherham children’s services boss Joyce Thacker received a £40,000 pay-off to quit her post in the wake of the Rotherham child sex exploitation scandal.

It was revealed Mrs Thacker agreed the five-figure sum as a pay-off for leaving her £130,000 per year job with immediate effect in September.

She was criticised in a Home Affairs Select Committee report which has also called for an independent investigation to be launched by the Home Office.

A little boy was left fighting for his life in hospital after a blaze which killed his dad and brother.

Artists impressions of the new community stadium and Olympic Legacy Park, to be built on the former Don Valley Stadium site

Artists impressions of the new community stadium and Olympic Legacy Park, to be built on the former Don Valley Stadium site

Jack Sykes, aged 12, was critically injured in the horror inferno which claimed the lives of his dad, Darren, and his little brother Paul, aged nine.

Jack, of Penistone, Barnsley, sadly died in hospital five days later with his heartbroken mum, Claire, 42, at his bedside. Claire blamed her estranged husband Darren for starting the fire and ‘murdering’ their sons.

In world news, the Roman Catholic Church beatified Pope Paul VI.

NOVEMBER

The Reverend Dr Alan Billings became South Yorkshire’s new police and crime commissioner following the resignation of his predecessor, Shaun Wright, over the Rotherham child sex exploitation scandal.

He was elected as commissioner from a turnout of less than 15 per cent, but pledged: “I want to listen to what the public are saying.”

File photo dated 13-10-2012 of A general view showing the renamed Jessica Ennis Stand at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 13, 2014. Olympic champion and Sheffield United fan Jessica Ennis-Hill has announced that she would want her name removed from a stand at Bramall Lane if the club were to re-sign convicted rapist Ched Evans. See PA story SOCCER Evans. Photo credit should read Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire.

File photo dated 13-10-2012 of A general view showing the renamed Jessica Ennis Stand at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 13, 2014. Olympic champion and Sheffield United fan Jessica Ennis-Hill has announced that she would want her name removed from a stand at Bramall Lane if the club were to re-sign convicted rapist Ched Evans. See PA story SOCCER Evans. Photo credit should read Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire.

A supergran chased an armed robber wielding a broken bottle out of her newsagents in Sheffield - with a walking stick.

Sharon Brook, aged 52, stood her ground against a hooded youth wielding the beer bottle as he attempted to rob Sothall News and Booze on West Street, Beighton.

Mother-of-three Sharon said: “I was on the phone to my husband and had my back to the door. The youth ran in with a hooded top pulled around his face so I could only see his eyes.

“He had a broken bottle and was screaming, shouting and swearing at me to open the till. He kept pushing the bottle towards my face.”

Sheffield golden girl Jessica Ennis-Hill warned she will demand her name is town down from Bramall Lane if Ched Evans rejoins Sheffield United.

The London 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion, from Dore, asked the Blades to remove her name from the Jessica Ennis stand if the club re-signs the convicted rapist.

She said: “I believe being a role model to young people is a huge honour and those in positions of influence in communities should respect the role they play in young people’s lives and set a good example. If Evans was to be re-signed by the club, it would completely contradict these beliefs.”

South Yorkshire mourned the tragic deaths of five teenagers killed in a horrific car crash.

Sixteen-year-olds Megan Storey, Jordanna Goodwin and Blake Cairns and Arpad Kore and Bartosz Bortniczak, both aged 18, all died in a collision in Conisbrough on November 15.

The teenagers were all current or former pupils of Danum Academy in Doncaster.

Headteacher Rebecca Staples said: “Each one of them has a special place in each of our hearts. They had tremendous lives ahead of them.”

The Star-backed Woman of Steel statue appeal smashed its target in November, raising almost £170,000.

The city’s brave women, who kept the munitions factories going while their men fought in two world wars, will now get a permanent tribute outside Sheffield City Hall in 2016.

Internationally, tens of thousands of people gathered at the historic Brandenburg Gate in the centre of the German capital of Berlin to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall,

DECEMBER

Heroic Sheffield teenager Jasmyn Chan was honoured with a national bravery award after she was killed pushing her friend to safety from an oncoming car.

The 14-year-old has been recognised with an In Memoriam award from the Royal Humane Society for her ‘selfless courage’ on the day of the fatal collision.

Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the society, said: “Faced with an oncoming car, and with mere seconds to act, her only thought was to push her friend to safety.

“Her friend sustained serious injuries to her legs. But, if it had not been for Jasmyn’s sacrifice, she could have suffered far worse.”

Soaring demand for casualty services led to hospital bosses to urge patients not to use them unless absolutely necessary.

More than 13,000 people visited Northern General Hospital’s A&E in October – some 400 more than at the same time last year.

With emergency demand expected to grow over winter, hospital bosses appealed for people who do not have ‘life-threatening emergencies’ to stay away.

It comes as a survey claimed nearly half of Sheffielders interviewed said it was ‘difficult’ or ‘impossible’ to get an appointment at their local GP surgery.

Sheffield and the rest of the world said farewell to ‘working class hero’ Joe Cocker.

The city’s first global superstar died after a battle with lung cancer at the age of 70.

Local icons and music greats from all over the globe, including Sir Paul McCartney, paid tribute to the rock and soul superstar.

In 2007, Cocker was made an OBE for his contribution to music and honoured with a star bearing his name on the Sheffield Walk of Fame.

* Further afield, US President Barack Obama announced the resumption of normal relations between the US and Cuba.

File photo dated 04/07/07 of singer and musician Joe Cocker, who has died at the age of 70. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday December 22, 2014. See PA story DEATH Cocker. Photo credit should read: Joel Ryan/PA Wire

File photo dated 04/07/07 of singer and musician Joe Cocker, who has died at the age of 70. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday December 22, 2014. See PA story DEATH Cocker. Photo credit should read: Joel Ryan/PA Wire